James William "J.W." Gann, age 96 of Sun Lakes, AZ and formerly of Gallatin, MO passed away Thursday night, September 17, 2020 at Hospice of the Valley Dobson Home in Chandler, AZ. J.W. was born on February 23, 1924 the son of William Judson and Della (Place) Gann at home in Gallatin, MO. He grew up in Gallatin and was a 1941 graduate of Gallatin High School where his favorite sport to play was basketball. After graduating from Gallatin, he received an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Wentworth Military Academy in 1943. Due to World War II, J.W. was unable to attend his Wentworth Military Academy graduation ceremony in order to report to Camp Roberts, CA to begin basic training. In November 1943 J.W. left San Francisco for the Southwest Pacific where he served in the 182nd Infantry during World War II. J.W. received two Purple Hearts, Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge for his selfless sacrifice and service to our country. Some of these were awarded to him later in life. At the ceremony, he stated he was glad to still be alive to receive the medals but the most humbling comment was, “I am very proud to have served my country.” Upon return from the war he joined his parents in the family business, Gann’s Bargain Store that was established in 1916, later purchasing it allowing his parents to retire. On September 16, 1951 he was united in marriage to Beatrice Booth at the First Baptist Church in Gallatin. To this union three children were born. Beatrice preceded J.W. in death on April 6, 1970. On March 15, 1980 he was united in marriage to Marilyn Teale Ayers at the Cameron, MO Lutheran Church. He was a faithful member of the Gallatin First Christian Church for over eighty years. Other memberships include Gallatin Masonic Lodge #106, the Moila Shrine Temple in St. Joseph, MO, and Daviess County Country Club. J.W. enjoyed spending quality time and entertaining his family and friends at The Lake of the Ozarks and later at Lake Viking including boating, water sports and fishing. After retirement he became an avid golfer enjoying the game until 89 years young. J.W. was a lifetime fan of the Kansas City Chiefs. He also enjoyed Royals and Arizona Diamond Back’s baseball. Following retirement, he and Marilyn lived in Hobe Sound, FL where they provided care for Marilyn’s parents, before moving to Sierra Vista, AZ and then Sun Lakes, AZ.
J.W. was preceded in death by his parents, sister Mary Margaret Hyde and granddaughter Stephanie Frost. Survivors include: wife, Marilyn of the home; son, Steven (Deby) Gann of Gallatin; daughter, Judith Gann of Dallas, TX; son, Carlan Gann of Kansas City, MO; stepson, Randy (Jody) Ayers of Edgerton, MO; stepson, Bruce (Deb) Ayers of Kansas City, MO; stepson, Terry (Kim) Ayers of Queen Creek, AZ;. Grandchildren Corri (Adam) Barnhart of Franklin, TN; Nathan (Molly) Gann of Millersville, PA; Addilea (Jared) Andrews of Gallatin, MO; Jenna Gann of Kansas City, MO; Brandon (Kelsey Bower) Gann of Kansas City, MO; Daniel (Janeanne) Ayers of Blue Springs, MO; Tim Ayers of Independence, MO; Sam Ayers of Kansas City, MO; Casey Ayers of Kansas City, MO; Brittany Ayers of Chandler, AZ; Tyller Ayers of Gilbert, AZ; Dalis Smith of Queen Creek, AZ and Dylan Smith of Queen Creek, AZ; as well as great grandchildren; Ella, Hudson, Simon, Marion, Beatrice, Clayton, Jean, William and Jonathan.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to Hillcrest Cemetery or Daviess County Library in care of the funeral home. Graveside memorial service with full military honors: 11 AM, Friday, September 25th, 2020 Hillcrest Cemetery, Gallatin. Visitation: 6 to 8 PM, Thursday, September 24th, 2020, Stith Funeral Home, Gallatin. Friends may call 11 AM to 5 PM Thursday at the funeral home. Arrangements entrusted to the care and direction of Stith Funeral Home, Gallatin. Online guestbook at www.stithfamilyfunerals.com
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